How much to charge for website maintenance

How much to charge for website maintenance

Anyone who runs a good website knows creating and hosting it is only one part of the equation. After all, websites require ongoing maintenance. As an agency, you’ll need to assist your clients with website maintenance, especially when they know how crucial the process is.

While website maintenance is an essential service, it’s also a broad term. It’s difficult to quantify the tasks that count as website maintenance, not to mention the variable scope of each activity. This can make it difficult for agencies to define prices when offering these services to their clients.

Website maintenance 101

After launching a website, a set of tasks is required to keep the website running optimally.

Once an agency has built a website, and the client has accepted and launched it, website maintenance activities ensure that the website continues to deliver on its purpose and offers a great user experience to visitors. These maintenance tasks affect the website’s front end, content, security, and hosting infrastructure.

Some clients choose to handle aspects of their website’s maintenance, like adding and updating content. On the other hand, technical tasks like server updates and security monitoring are typically managed by the web hosting provider or the agency that built the website.

Examples of website maintenance activities

Here are some of the most common services to plan for when your agency offers a website maintenance plan.

Hosting and domain renewals

Agencies can ensure that payments for their clients’ web hosting services, domain name renewals, secure socket layer certificates, and other subscription-based services are sent on schedule.

Since delayed payment for these essential services can lead to website downtime, clients will appreciate the convenience and reliability you offer.

Website backups

Backups act as protection against outages, ransomware attacks, and other events that lead to data loss. Offer your clients automatic website backups on a periodic schedule that’s tailored to their needs.

Application updates

The software suite used to build a website also requires maintenance. If it’s a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, this entails updates to the software and the various plugins installed.

Tracking and security monitoring

Agencies can use monitoring dashboards to track metrics like resource usage, website traffic, network activity, and uptime. Your clients will appreciate the detailed information and potential insights on their website.

For example, analytics can reveal the true impact of traffic surges and security incidents, giving technicians enough time to respond and prevent an outage or for your clients to make wise adjustments to their web strategies.

Content updates

Adding content is an essential service for some businesses. However, the exact nature of the updates will vary. For an entertainment website, content updates can include creating new articles or social media posts. But for an ecommerce website, it could mean updating landing pages or product pages.

Either way, your clients will appreciate the help keeping up with their content demands.

Server maintenance

To keep things running smoothly, a website’s underlying hosting infrastructure also needs attention. Hosting companies handle these tasks for managed hosting. For most VPS and dedicated hosting plans, server maintenance is the client’s responsibility.

As an agency, you can offer to take this deeply technical task off your clients’ hands.

Search engine optimization

With the enormous impact Google results can have on a business, many clients want ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) maintenance so their website ranks high in search engine result pages. Thus, offering this service is attractive.

Technical support

On-demand technical support is also a maintenance service for website owners. Agencies offer this service 24/7 or limit access based on the availability of their support personnel. Regardless, clients value an agency that is available to handle requests.

The importance of website maintenance

A newly launched website is usually in its best state and doesn’t need fixing. So when and how does maintenance become important? This is something you’ll have to explain to some clients. Moreover, a deep understanding will influence how much you charge for website maintenance.

Here are the reasons why a website needs consistent maintenance.

Speed and performance

A website’s speed and performance greatly impact each visitor’s user experience.

As time passes, websites accumulate content, which can increase load times. Research shows, however, that 74% of mobile users are unwilling to wait more than five seconds for a webpage to load. Agencies offer website maintenance so that their clients’ websites remain fast and responsive in the long run.

You can achieve this by optimizing new and existing content using functions like caching and by taking advantage of infrastructure like content delivery networks (CDNs) and load-balancing servers.

Security

Malicious actors continue to develop new ways to compromise websites. 2022 saw a 67% year-over-year increase in ransom attacks, and there were 2.8 billion malware attacks in the first half of 2022 alone.

Staying ahead of cyberattacks is part of what makes website maintenance worthwhile. By configuring regular backups, monitoring traffic for malware and suspicious network activity, and installing security programs and software updates, you can promise your clients their websites will stay safe and running.

Business goals

For websites created as part of a business operation, it’s even more important the website continuously meets its purpose.

To illustrate: After a business develops an ecommerce site, many scenarios can stop the website from functioning if there’s no maintenance plan. A traffic surge can crash the website, or the license for a critical piece of ecommerce software can expire without anyone realizing it.

These incidents can stop the website from fulfilling its function, which limits your client’s revenue. Website maintenance can prevent these avoidable issues — this is even more impactful considering the more pricy nature of repair and recovery operations.

Search engine optimization

On average, search engine results account for 53.3% of a website’s traffic. This is why SEO is essential for websites to remain relevant and attract traffic that furthers business.

Notably, some website maintenance activities overlap with on-page and technical SEO: Content audits, UX optimizations, and fixing broken links, for example. This means agencies can efficiently offer both website maintenance and SEO as part of the same deal.

When your regular maintenance boosts search engine rankings for your clients’ websites and brings them more leads, they’ll respect how much you charge for website maintenance.

Reputation

All the benefits of website maintenance collectively impact your clients’ reputations. People’s opinions of a business or brand depend on their interactions with its website.

If a website is buggy, unresponsive, and lacking proper security features like SSL certificates, it’s obvious what visitors will think of the business that owns the website. For that reason, your clients are counting on your agency to elevate their online reputation. Think about what assurances you can make.

Once you and a client have established a mutual understanding of the importance of website maintenance, the next topic of discussion is usually what it would cost them to enjoy these services from your agency. Read on for pointers toward a great answer.

How much should I charge to maintain a website?

To set a price for your website maintenance services, start by determining the fixed costs you incur to be able to perform them. Then, choose a billing style based on the frequency and duration of the service. Lastly, adjust your profit margin based on the types of clients who need the service.

Here are examples of fixed website maintenance costs an agency incurs:

  • Website hosting costs.
  • Domain registration renewals.
  • Secure cloud backups.
  • DDoS protection.
  • Security monitoring and scans.

Billing clients for other services requires a bit more nuance. Take, for example, customizing templates, managing server infrastructure, and installing add-ons.

For these tasks, you can charge based on frequency. Try a fixed monthly maintenance fee encompassing routine tasks like fixing links, updating content, and auditing SEO. Meanwhile, bill hourly when a server technician needs to perform maintenance on a dedicated hosting server.

Even more accurately, how much you charge depends on the kinds of clients you have. Create website maintenance plans that group different perks based on your client’s needs. This makes it easier for clients to understand the kind of services they are getting.

For example, you could create a small business website maintenance plan targeting personal websites and businesses with a smaller budget. Since these owners may have limited technical expertise in managing their websites, you could charge a routine maintenance fee of $150 per month and offer basic services such as:

  • Plugin, security, and application updates.
  • Email-based technical support during office hours.
  • Weekly website backups.
  • Security and downtime monitoring.

For clients with larger, complex websites like ecommerce stores or online forums, aim to offer 24/7 tech support via phone and email. As for pricing, consider charging $900 per month and including every aforementioned perk, plus the following:

  • SEO audits.
  • Content optimization.
  • Performance monitoring and monthly reports.
  • Daily on-site and offsite backups.

Creating specialized service plans makes it easier to segment your current and potential clients.

At this point, you’re closer to landing on a price point. Now assess whether the following factors warrant an increase or decrease in how much you charge for website maintenance.

Factors that affect the cost of website maintenance

No agency owner wants a situation where their average cost estimates don’t match the amount of work required to maintain a website.

Make a reliable website maintenance cost estimate by considering the following factors.

Type of website

Maintenance on differing website types requires varying levels of effort and expertise.

For example, maintenance on a personal blog created with a website-building platform, like Wix or Squarespace, requires a different level of effort than maintenance on an ecommerce website built with WordPress and WooCommerce. You may spend even more effort handling a website created from the ground up with custom code.

The website’s size, underlying technology, number of media files, and intended functions will also affect how much a maintenance service will cost the client.

Type of hosting

The type of hosting plan the client uses should also influence your website maintenance cost.

Websites on shared hosting plans are often easier to maintain because the plans have fewer moving parts. The hosting company typically manages all the backend hosting infrastructure, so you can focus on the client’s website and content.

With VPS and dedicated hosting plans, the reverse is true — hosting companies will allow greater control over the server. Clients with these plans usually expect an agency to take the reins on server management, which you should charge them for.

Scope of maintenance

The number of services a client requires should impact how much you charge for website maintenance.

For instance, a small business owner may only require backups and application updates. Naturally, their bill should be much less than that of a client who needs you to handle security monitoring, SEO, content updates, backups, and technical support.

Another thing to consider here is the scale and frequency of the required tasks. A daily backup guarantee should cost more than weekly backups. The same goes for other maintenance services, including content updates and technical support.

Maintenance duration

The length of time your maintenance plans will be active should affect how you price them.

If you charge a monthly website maintenance fee, you could offer clients a discount if they pay for a year upfront. This will incentivize clients to choose a longer-term service plan for their websites.

On the other hand, some services aren’t cost-effective for clients if left running for too long. For example, server maintenance usually requires specialized technicians, so clients will appreciate the option to request this expert service only when necessary.

Final thoughts: How much to charge for website maintenance

While it’s challenging to decide how much to charge for your website maintenance services, now you know where to start. You first need to itemize the specific services you want to offer. Another way to simplify costing is by offering maintenance bundles catered to different client segments.

Then, set prices based on the expenses you’ll incur, the frequency it’s needed, and the amount of time required to perform the task. Best of all, you can partner with a hosting company and use their expertise and services to ease the burden on your team while enhancing the quality and reach of your agency’s maintenance services.

See Also: Experience Our for Free VPS Hosting: Enjoy a 30-Day Trial with Risk-Free Servers

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